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On Trauma and Healing in Poverty
March 15, 2018

When people think of poverty, trauma is not always the first problem that comes to mind. However, research has repeatedly shown that the two are often related: that in poverty, often comes abuse of various kinds (alcohol, drugs, physical, emotional, sexual), stress that is detrimental to children’s brain growth and development, and fewer layers of protection against the worst circumstances life can put in our paths.

Learning About Trauma

Khae, one our staff counselors, spends one Saturday a month offering services to a local children’s home. In January she provided a training on trauma for the students. She taught them about what trauma is, where it comes from, signs and symptoms of trauma, and how to treat trauma. This helps them learn to identify potential trauma they have experienced, to see where it might exist for others, and to know there are ways to get help.

She asked the students to fill in a pre-test and post-test, and the results were hopeful: every student showed improvement in understanding trauma.

One 15-year-old female student reported that,

“I can understand about healing inside and how it happens, this training has helped me to open my heart and I can accept many different things. In the past there were things in myself that I didn’t accept but now I can begin to accept them, and accept things in other people more as well.”

The students reported that they would use this information in their lives. Trainings like this one help students express and process their emotions. Our long-term goal is that they would use this knowledge to help strengthen their understanding of themselves, their relationships, and their communities.

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